Do College Students Benefit from Their Social Media Experience?: Social Media Involvement and Its Impact on College Students' Self-Efficacy Perception

Do College Students Benefit from Their Social Media Experience?: Social Media Involvement and Its Impact on College Students' Self-Efficacy Perception

Ling Fang (Bowling Green State University, USA) and Louisa Ha (Bowling Green State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8450-8.ch013
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Abstract

As young people are increasingly dependent on Social Networking sites (SNS) to socialize, seek information, and self-broadcast, their SNS consumption has been found to be associated with social capital and social support in a positive way especially among individuals with low psychological assets. This exploratory study investigated SNS involvement in relation to college students' perceived self-efficacy change afterwards based on the social cognitive theory and literature review on social media effects studies. Undergraduate students (N = 395) in a Midwest U.S. public university participated in a web survey in September 2012. Results indicated a positive potential of involving in SNS activities to strengthen users' self-efficacy. Research data also point to the mediating roles of social support and social learning on SNS involvement and self-efficacy, especially among low self-efficacy college students with homogenous SNS networks. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Introduction

College is a major life transition for young people, who usually face with challenges in different domains of life and need to gain various kinds of support to cope with problems and adjust to transitions. As the foundation of human agency, the self-efficacy belief is predictive of individuals’ achievements and coping capability in adversities (Bandura, 1986). Although previous research on social media effects paid more attention to self-esteem, perception of self-efficacy, as a useful behavioral indicator and college educational goal, deserves more attention. In an age of building their self-efficacy, young people may constantly reassess themselves based on information they process from real-life or virtual environment. Applying the social cognitive theory in social media settings, this study examines students’ self-reported self-efficacy change after using SNS as a proxy measure to explore the short-term positive effect of SNS involvement.

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